By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – The new director of the Washington State University Tri-Cities College of Nursing was recently elected a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) in recognition of her work in health care education and access.
Debbie Nogueras led a comprehensive program that secured vision screenings, eye exams and glasses for more than 5,000 underserved inner-city school children in Miami. She was pivotal to the success of Strength, Prevention, Empowerment for Community Change and Empowering Youth (SPEC-EY) in engaging community youth, reducing violence and crime and improving access to health care.
Using evidence-based curriculum in mentoring and personal leadership development, she developed a project that focused on physical activity through painting, refurbishing and landscaping while educating students about concepts such as oral health, eye protection and care and physical development.
“It was a really rewarding project,” she said. “These inner-city youth were exposed to opportunities they never would have had otherwise.”
Nogueras was actively involved in program called “Day in the Life of a Nurse” where high school students visited nursing programs to participate in hands-on activities – from lab work to health care simulation to learning CPR – related to a standard work day.
“It was a lot of fun to have a part in planting that seed that would make them want to become nurses,” she said.
As a fellow and WSU Tri-Cities’ new campus nursing director, she said she hopes to provide even more children and adults with opportunities to advance their health education and health care access.
“We have this wonderful $18 million endowment,” she said of the nursing program at WSU Tri-Cities. “We will be using those funds to bring in faculty, both clinical and tenure, so we can grow our nursing programs, bring more live courses to campus and increase our research.”
Nogueras said she expects to develop similar programs, including “Day in the Life of a Nurse,” in the Tri-Cities, in addition to growing the nursing program.
“Everything I’ve learned, I’ve taken out into the community,” she said. “I believe there is an ethical obligation when you are a nurse to give back. It is about helping the community you serve. Nurses can do anything.”
AANP fellows are nurse practitioner leaders who have made outstanding contributions to health care through clinical practice, research, education or policy. One of 70 new fellows, Nogueras will travel to New Orleans this week to be inducted during the national conference.